2006.04.07

I’ve seen too many organizations put usability last. They treat it like an afterthought. Functionality comes first, right? While having something that actually functions is important, having something that actually works is just as imporant…

What is the difference between something that functions and something that works? I think it’s usability. For instance, if you’ve got an approval system that sends an email to someone, requires them to log into a system, navigate to the proper place, type in a name, and do a search, all before they can approve (or reject) something, that might be a process that is functional, but it sure isn’t very usable. Sure it works, but it is too much work!

Harness the power of the information that you have. When you send the email, provide a link. This link should take the user directly to a page where they are presented with the information they need to approve, reject, or defer something. Does this seem like common sense? Many systems do this, yet many systems fail here, and it’s the users, not the developers that suffer.

The developers write the code, and hope that they do it right, and that is it. The users have to actually use these systems, day in, and day out, and if anyone feels the pain, it’s the users, not the developers. And believe me, the last thing you want is a group of users complaining over and over about how much work it takes to do a simple task in the system you built. Bad developer! Change your ways…

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